The penalties for a reckless driving conviction can be quite serious and may include jail time, license suspension and a substantial fine, not to mention the stigma of a criminal record.
If you have been charged with reckless driving, it is important to work with an experienced criminal attorney. A Ft. Lauderdale reckless driving lawyer could help present the facts of your case in the most favorable light and work toward the best possible resolution.
What is the Definition of Reckless Driving?
State law defines “reckless driving” as either fleeing a law enforcement officer in a motor vehicle or driving with a “willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property”.
The first situation may seem straightforward, but there are many instances where a lawyer could argue that the individual operating a motor vehicle was either unaware of the presence of law enforcement officials or not making an attempt to flee.
In the second situation, it can be difficult to determine just exactly what level of conduct should be considered “willful or wanton.” Conduct that is “willful” is deliberate or intentional. Courts typically define “wanton” conduct in connection with this crime as driving with the knowledge that damage was likely to be done to property or people and still acting with deliberate indifference to the consequences. Depending in the situation, a lawyer in Ft. Lauderdale could explain someone’s charges to them and how to best move forward with their particular case.
Penalties for Reckless Driving Offenses
The consequences for a reckless driving conviction are set forth in Section 316.192 of the Florida statutes. Penalties vary depending on whether the offense is a first offense and whether property damage or injury results from the driver’s actions. Some of the penalties that a Ft Lauderdale reckless driving attorney could help defend against include:
- For a first offense, the driver may face imprisonment for up to 90 days and a fine of between $25 and $500.
- For a second or subsequent offense, the driver may face imprisonment for up to six months and a fine of between $50 and $1,000.
- If the driver’s actions cause property damage or bodily injury to another that is not classified as serious, the crime is treated as a first degree misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
- If the driver’s actions cause serious bodily injury to another, the crime is classified as third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
Moreover, if the court suspects the use of alcohol or drugs contributed to the violation, the court may order a substance abuse education course and evaluation.
Defenses for Reckless Driving
Because the term “reckless driving” is so broadly defined, defense attorneys in Ft. Lauderdale often use this loose definition as a way to build their case. For instance, in cases involving excessive speed, going over the speed limit is not enough evidence to convict someone on reckless driving charges. Instead, a Prosecutor must prove that this excessive speed resulted in dangerous behavior, such as illegally passing another motor vehicle or running a red light through a busy intersection.
If a Prosecutor cannot show this, a defense lawyer could use this weakness in their case to have the charges reduced or dismissed. In other situations, an attorney may be able to argue that there was a case of mistaken identity or there was a lack of intent to drive recklessly. This may come into play if there was a mechanical failure that caused the Defendant to lose control of their car.
Contact a Ft Lauderdale Reckless Driving Attorney Today
Reckless driving charges are an area of law where quality legal representation is crucial. If you have been charged with this offense, a knowledgeable Ft. Lauderdale reckless driving lawyer could serve as your advocate and help you work toward the most favorable outcome. For more information about hoe Leifert & Leifert could help you, schedule a consultation today.